Announced today on DC Comics' blog, The Source, the super hero comic company unites with Archie Comics for a historic first time in a three-issue crossover with the Eisner-Award winning series "Tiny Titans" by Art Baltazar and Franco.
Launched in 2008, the all-ages "Tiny Titans" ongoing gained much attention and critical acclaim from children and adults alike for its miniaturized and adorably fun take on some of DC's classic characters. Each issue generally features various, kid-friendly short stories and activities sometimes interlinked through a loose, over-arching thread revolving around the young students of Sidekick City Elementary. Meanwhile, the widely famous Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Reggie Mantle and Jughead Jones appear regularly under the Archie Comics banner. The company also introduced the world to other popular characters such as Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina the Teenage Witch - all of which, including Archie, spawned a cartoon series, live action movie and even live action television shows.
The upcoming crossover joins the "Tiny Titans" with the characters of "Little Archie," and CBR News spoke with creators Art Baltazar and Franco about the momentous story, the kind of adventures they plan on putting the kids in and, of course, the eternal question of Betty versus Veronica.
CBR News: Guys, how did this all happen? Did they come to you? Did DC go to Archie?
Art Baltazar: They were talking over there together and I just got a phone call probably about a year ago to do some Archie character designs. I didn't hear anything about it again until about five months ago. So, we were waiting for a year before we heard any news. It was kind of like a sudden surprise that we forgot about. It was kind of cool. It's going to be awesome. It's the most historic crossover event that we've ever been a part of.
Franco: It's going to be epic, I think is the word we decided on.
Baltazar: Epic and historical!
Franco: Epically historical!
Baltazar: It's got a golden age, modern age, awesome age feel.
Franco: With some silver age in there, too.
Well, what can you say about the story we'll be seeing? Will it be the "Tiny Titans" format where it's a bunch of short stories interconnected in some way, shape or form?
Baltazar: Yup. That's exactly what it is, sir. They wanted us to write stories the way that we like to write them. So, that's pretty much what we know how to do. So, that's what's happening. [Laughs] It's like the Tiny Titans and Archie crew always lived near each other and they never knew, and there's a mix up in the downtown area that allows them to meet for the first time.
Franco: It's also historical because in traditional crossovers when you have two characters from different companies meet, they fight first and then there's a misunderstanding and then they all get along. I can guarantee you that there's no fight.
Baltazar: There's a misunderstanding right off the bat, but they don't fight about it. They actually kind of enjoy it. The misunderstanding leads to comedy.
You guys mentioned the historical aspect of this, and this really is the very first time ever that the Archie characters and DC's are crossing over, and it's happening in "Tiny Titans." What's it like for you guys being the first to do this? I mean, you got onto "Tiny Titans," which gets rave reviews, and now you're doing this historical crossover.
Baltazar: It's pretty crazy. When we first met with the Archie people, I was nervous because they said that one of the guys that was going to be there was the grandson of the guy who created Archie. So right away, I was like, "Oh man. What's going to happen?" And the meeting took about, probably, 45 seconds. [Laughs] We showed up, DC guys pitched the idea, reminded them about the designs a year ago and they looked at that stuff and said, "All right. Let's do this."
Franco: I think before we even sat down they said, "Let's do this." So, that kind of caught us by surprise.
Baltazar: It's cool because the meeting ended so fast and we were there only a minute and I remember sitting with the Archie guys and saying, "Well, even though we're done can we still talk about stuff?" [Laughs] We were only nervous for like 30 seconds and then it was done.
That sounds like the awesomest meeting ever.
Baltazar: Yeah. It didn't even feel like a meeting. It felt like just guys hanging out talking about comics.
Were you guys fans of Archie comics? Like, did you have a preference in the eternal Betty and Veronica debate?
Baltazar: Yeah. I've always been a Veronica guy.
Franco: I've always been Betty. I think that's what makes us the perfect writers for this, because we're very split down the middle as far as Betty and Veronica are concerned.
Baltazar: Yeah. I like my girls with a little bit of fire. I like a challenge. If you have a woman that never challenges you, it gets boring faster. If you got a feisty woman, like Veronica, there's always something you have to do. Always.
Franco: Yeah. I like the more tame, down to Earth Betty situation. And I've always been a huge fan of Archie stuff. I'm still looking for Pop's Chocolate Shop. I want to go there and challenge Jughead to an eating contest.
Baltazar: I used to watch the cartoon a lot, with Sabrina and the Archie kids. As kids, we'd buy the comics with Casper and Richie Rich and stuff. He was right in there with those 10 comics for a dollar packs. We'd get him with Spider-Man and those guys. Aw yeah!
As we know, the Archie crew meets up with the Tiny Titans. In that regard, are they normal aged or miniaturized?
Baltazar: They're "Little Archie." There was a comic called "Little Archie" and his pals. So, they're all little guys.
Franco: They're all the same size, height, weight and age.
Baltazar: [Laughs] Yeah. They look like Tiny Titans style, which is kind of cool. I didn't have to change my style to fit anything. They kind of match the Archie style, but they match the Tiny Titans world a little bit. It's pretty cool.
Is there a favorite for you guys? Like a character you couldn't wait to draw or write?
Franco: I think when we actually sat down to write it, it took maybe 20 minutes to map out everything we wanted to do because we were just so excited. We grew up with [the Archie characters] and the Teen Titans. So, the stories were just so instantaneous, we pretty much mapped out the whole thing in about 20 minutes.
Baltazar: Pretty much. And there's a lot of similarities between Miss Grundy and Solomon Grundy. And Weather Wizard and Mr. Weatherbee. So, there's a lot of stuff that right away we figured out. Like Cyborg and Jughead both like to eat all the time. It worked out well. We're going to see Hot Dog team up with Ace and Krypto and stuff. He's going to try and join the Legion of Super-Pets. And Josie and the Pussycats get an invitation to join Pet Club, because the Titans don't know that they're real girls. [Laughs]
So, we're not just seeing Archie and his friends. We're seeing the whole crew of characters under the Archie Comics banner?
Baltazar: Yeah! Sabrina and Raven have a magic contest. We're not messing around.
Franco: We're not good with the business stuff, but you leave all the creative stuff in our hands and we'll get the job done.
Baltazar: Yeah. We'll make it so creative that it'll hurt you the next day.
Franco: It'll feel like you've had more sugar intake than if you went to Pop's Chocolate Shop.
Baltazar: These comics we're making are changing the way you're going to read comics for the rest of your life. You're going to feel so good about yourself and you're going to probably call your mom after. [Laughs] Aw yeah, man.
Franco: That's what we do to people.
I think that just about covers all the coolness we'll be seeing in this crossover. It all sounds very awesome guys.
Franco: When you have such great characters like the Titans and the Archie characters to work with, it's the easiest thing in the world to do.
Baltazar: We're just so happy and grateful we get to do this. We get to stay home all day and get to make comic books for people.
Franco: It's really fun. We get to say, "Aw Yeah, Titans" a lot, but now we get to say "Aw Yeah, Archie," too.
Baltazar: You get to see a lot of costume changes, too. A lot of switching around.
Franco: Don't give away everything, though!
You know, that does remind me of something. We touched upon the Betty and Veronica thing, but what about the Tiny Titans girls and guys? Are we going to have some mixed crushes?
Baltazar: Yeah. The first issue has some flirting going on. You're going to see Reggie struggle with it a lot.
Franco: It's going to be an issue. It's going to be three issues, actually. [Laughs]